Insights into Pharma Market Trends and HCP Channel Preferences - Year Two Results Out Now

About the HCP Channel Trends Project

The DHC Group and partner Healio Strategic Solutions have completed the 2nd annual survey of over 1,000 HCPs designed to assess whether the tactics and spend pharma companies invest in are effectively meeting the needs of HCPs who engage with omnichannel models. The year two results were released on September 28, 2023 at the DHC Summit hosted with Novo Nordisk.  Joining Healio’s Andrea Gaymon was CMI Media Group’s Brian Cunningham. 

“Pharma continues to have an opportunity to help keep patients at the center. HCPs still lean on Pharma to really help deliver the right materials to support their patients.  Continue doing that, listening to what their needs are, and delivering, that’s going to continue to help them do their job.”

– Brian Cunningham, SVP, Group Media Lead, CMI Media Group

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About the Project

The DHC Group and partner Healio Strategic Solutions have jointly conducted two surveys of HCPs and pharma company brand marketers to assess whether the tactics and spend pharma companies invest in are effectively meeting the needs of HCPs who engage with omnichannel models. Both surveys sought to gain a full understanding of the post-pandemic relationship between HCP consumption behaviors and pharma marketing efforts. The HCP-focused survey yielded nearly 1,000 responses from physicians, residents, and PAs across all specialties. The pharma-focused survey yielded responses from 70 pharma executives across 25+, small-to-large-sized companies. This project uses a survey model that will be repeated annually to continuously evaluate the learning behaviors and needs of HCPs and advise pharma companies on the best tactics for reaching HCPs and providing solutions to their pain points.

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Pharma Market Trends – Transformation, Budget Shifts, and Field Force

Survey responses from 70 pharmaceutical executives confirmed that over half (57%) agree that the acceleration of digital transformations and strategies often attributed to the pandemic era is here to stay. A lesser group (29%) contend that while there was a temporary acceleration, they are seeing a shift back towards pre-pandemic thinking. Whether temporary or long-term, we were able to dig deeper into what that transformation looks like for patient and HCP focused efforts since respondents overwhelmingly agreed that we will continue to see an increased reliance on digital with regards to both HCP (74%) and patients (83%) communications.

Some key takeaways on how pharma execs see that playing out include:

And speaking of the field force, results indicate that marketers predict a continued shift from personal to non-personal promotion, with the goal of having the two work together through the help of digital tools. When give the opportunity to explain in their own words, key ideas emerged such as:

“The field force evolved dramatically in the early days of the pandemic…and the past 12 months have been about seeking the “next” normal. They are getting out, pushing transformation, and continuing digital interactions where it makes sense…but getting access to customers is a continuously evolving challenge.”

“Field reps are learning to use other tools to reach their customers rather than traditional face to face. They are learning how to be part of a bigger picture…with many channels not controlled by them. They are learning to follow suggestions generated by home office AI.”

Physician Insights – Social Insights, Resources, and Customer Experiences

Given our goal of achieving a layered understanding of both pharma trends and physician educational resources trends, it was important to look at how those predictions by pharma executives lined up against what our survey of 1000 HCPs told us as well. Analyzed by Healio Strategic Solution’s Adrienne Stevens, several key insights emerged in consideration of clinicians current preferences in receiving education, connecting with peers, and style of content.
Digital Physician Tools Are Heavily Used
Reliance on Peer-to-Peer content/Physician Portals

How Pharma Fits In – The Customer’s Experience

One aspect of this research was designed to look at how physicians feel about their experience with pharma companies today. There is certainly room for improvement, with only 25% of respondents agreeing that “pharma communicates in a relevant and personal manner” and even less at 16% indicating that they feel really understand as a physician by pharma cos. Growth opportunities were also uncovered around whether or not the industry is currently doing a good job of coordinating and integrating content sources and in delivering relevant content that HCPs need. It’s clear in this first look at the robust study data that we are in a time of fast transformation and reconsideration as an industry when it comes to how HCP communication is designed and implemented. We trust that the physician insights will be informative as marketers look to make further shifts to a more coordinated and seamless approach to designing the HCP customer experience. Additional looks at this data and accompanying analysis will be released in the coming weeks and we would be happy to discuss them with you.